By Christine Kern, contributing writer
72 percent of associates are more likely to stay with a retailer if given the right tools and technology.
One out of every four sales associates says that they lack the proper training and access to digital tools and technology to do their jobs properly, particularly as ecommerce grows. This is according to the findings of the 2017 Retail Associate Technology Study conducted by Salesfloor. The study also found that almost half of all associates believe they are reaching their full potential. The study highlights a missed opportunity for retailers to improve customer experiences, boost omnichannel sales, and grow the role of today’s sale’s associates. In fact, the study found, 72 percent of associates polled said that they were more likely to stay with a retailer if they were provided with the proper tools and training, while two thirds say that access to digital tools and technology is a necessity at a future retailer.
Leveraging new technology pays off, too: 90 percent of associates whose retailers have adopted new technology report that they have the tools to do their jobs well, compared to just 49 percent of those whose retailers lack digital tools.
“Many retailers have been slow to leverage new technology for associates, and our study shows that when associates are equipped with the proper technology they are happier, have a bigger impact on sales and stay with the company,” explained Oscar Sachs, co-founder and CEO of Salesfloor. “as retailers face one of the toughest times in decades, it is important that they invest in their people and equip them with technology to serve the all-channel customer as part of their return to growth strategy.”
Keeping sales associates happy is also crucial in a competitive market, where employee retention and training can mean big savings in the long run. As Innovative Retail Technologies reported, training associates properly – and providing continuing training – can boost associate effectiveness, particularly when paired with the appropriate technology and tools. And in a market where attracting highly motivated talent means providing digital tools to do their jobs, this aspect becomes even more crucial.
According to the Salesfloor study, there is a direct correlation between technology and associate productivity, including technology’s influence on driving sales.
"Reports on the demise of the retail industry are largely based on the increasing success of online retailers, but we found that for associates who are using technology, online competition isn't nearly as big of a concern," said Sachs. "When associates have the technology needed to expand their relationships with customers and drive sales, they are able to bridge the gap between stores and online which levels the playing field with online competitors."
"Our retailers who have equipped their associates with proper tools are a testament to our study findings," said Ben Rodier, Chief Client Officer and Co-Founder of Salesfloor. "Their associates feel more empowered, happier and confident, which has ultimately led to higher associate retention, recruitment rates and increased sales."